Hi folks! I just realized that I haven’t posted since last Friday, oh dear! Once again, things are busy. At what point can I expect my life to slow down a bit? Not a lot, just a little bit? Never? Oh, and it’s all by my own doing? Yeah, probably.
But to be honest I don’t know if I would want my life any other way! Things are good :)
In addition to the usual things that keep me busy, (in no particular order ;) work, blogging, dogs, actually seeing my husband at some point in the day, family, friends, a cousin staying with us for a while, cakes and cupcakes for friends and their life events, a new camera to play with, and who knows what else) I have also decided to take on the Joseph Pilates Challenge at Embody Pilates, a Pilates studio in my neighborhood.
In order to take on the challenge you have to complete 30 Pilates classes in 13 weeks (January 01 – March 31). Not so bad, right? That averages out to 2 classes per week with the occasional week of 3 when I am feeling ambitious. But then I signed up for a Chocolate Truffle making class at NAIT, there a week of Pilates in order to attend my chocolate classes. Then my husband and I booked a trip to visit my sister-in-law in Hong Kong, followed by hitting up Indonesia and Thailand. Oops, there goes another 2 ½ weeks from the 13. What are we at now? 30 classes in 9.5 weeks? um, ok. But I can do this! Oh wait, and don’t forget the two weekends that we went away in January to visit friends (there goes the potential for those Saturday and Sunday beginner classes…)
In short (because I may have a sliiiiggghhhhttt competitive edge even with myself, and a fear of failure/wasting my money) I now have less than 9 weeks to hit up 30 Pilates classes. Let’s just say that there are not enough ‘beginner’ classes to fill that need, and I am now taking on the Intermediate classes (with only 9 Beginner classes under my belt). *gulp* wish me luck on those!
So yeah, things have gotten busy. But don’t take me wrong, I’m not complaining. I am enjoying the classes immensely! And my flattening stomach isn’t such a bad side effect either. In fact, the flatter my stomach feels, the more of these tasty cupcakes I am pretty sure I can eat in one sitting and still remain guilt free.
See? Totally worth the 58954752 classes per week I am now fitting in :) Along with, you know, life.
Long story short – posting might not be as often as it has been in the past, but once we get back from Asia I will do my best to get back on my M/W/F schedule. In the meantime I will try to keep the posting as regular as possible but I may end up having a few naps on my keyboard instead. Please forgive me. And don’t judge me if you see the QWERTY pattern on my face.
Naked Cupcakes - a world of possibilities! Tasty too
Actually, I’m not so worried because I know these will help you forgive me! Oreo cupcakes = delicious. I have seen these around for a while and after they were requested by a friend I couldn’t wait to get started. I think the fact that an oreo cookie is baked right into the cupcake is pure genius, and the decorating options are endless!!
I baked the cookies into both chocolate and vanilla cupcakes but I must admit that my favourite combo is the vanilla cupcake with the Oreo. The combination of the vanilla with a chocolate-y Oreo surprise is so good! To decorate the cupcakes I used a vanilla bean buttercream for some, and the for the remainder I mixed crushed oreos into the icing to see how that would work out. When it comes to the icing I cannot choose a favourite, both flavours were amazing with the cupcakes.
See that swirl in the back there? Yay!
This was also a fun opportunity to practice using a jumbo round tip, and I think I finally have that sucker figured out. Yay for small victories!
You can use any cupcake recipe that you are particular attached to in order to make these cupcakes. Just keep in mind that since the Oreo cookies take up some room in the cupcake liner, you will get more cupcakes out of the recipe than normal. I used my favourite Vanilla Bean Cupcake recipe from My Baking Addiction and it made 2 dozen Oreo cupcakes.
Now please excuse me while I shove three of these into my face on the way to Pilates.
Line your muffin tins with cupcake liners and preheat the oven to 350F
Place an Oreo in the bottom of each liner and set aside
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and the egg whites
In a large bowl, whisk (or sift if you have a sifter) together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt
In another large bowl beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla beans until it is very light an fluffy
Add the vanilla to the sugar mixture and beat well
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix well
Add 1/2 of the wet ingredients and mix
Continue alternating the wet and dry ingredients until everything is added and the batter is well mixed
Fill the prepared cupcake liners about 2/3 full and give the pan a shake to make sure the batter gets all around the Oreo
Bake for 14 - 20 minutes (if you are just making vanilla bean cupcakes, bake for 18 - 24 minutes) until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into a cupcake
Let cool before frosting
Vanilla Bean Buttercream
This recipe is enough to frost 24 cupcakes. This is my fallback recipe when I need a simple and delicious buttercream. It is sweeter than Swiss Meringue Buttercream, but it is a perfect pairing for these cupcakes because it seems to fit with the classic Oreo cookies!
1 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup shortening
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups icing sugar
2 - 6 tbsp whipping cream
fine Oreo crumbs (optional)
Cream together the butter and shortening with the vanilla bean seeds and the vanilla extract. You can also use all butter/margarine, but I tend to use a little bit of shortening in order to stabilize the icing
Add the icing sugar 2 cups at a time, making sure to beat the mixture well to ensure no lumps are in the icing
After all the icing sugar is added add the whipping cream a tablespoon at a time, beating the icing between additions until it is light and fluffy. Feel free to add as much or as little whipping cream until you get your desired consistency
If using the Oreo crumbs, add these a tablespoon at a time until it is distributed throughout (I added about 3 tbsp total to mine)